After lunch, we go to GAP, trying clothes on in changing rooms that are directly next to each other. It is here that I tempt her with another thought.
‘Slish, I just thought, you know what we could do today?’
‘We could go and get your boobs measured.’
Silence. And finally a ‘No.’
‘That was a very delayed response,’ I say, laughing. It seems, like countless other women in the UK, that she still isn’t fussed about knowing whether she is wearing the wrong size bra. Although I know what really bothers her is getting her developing chest out to a stranger despite my reassurance that she can keep her bra on.
Neither my support nor the thought of that of an enhanced underwire nature, sway her. Still, we go back to M&S. I try on some leggings behind a shoe display before finding her on the floor, wrestling with some strappy heels. I tell her that I am going to the changing room to try on some different leggings. While in there, I get a text: ‘Where you at girl? Xx’ It’s from Slish. With limited phone reception, I quickly redress and find her ogling the same shoes.
We pop over to Waterstones. She follows me around both floors, declaring her lust for the M&S shoes as I try to find the one copy of this particular book that’s suppose to be instore. We leave Waterstones and she looks at me as if she’s just realised Bambi’s mother is shot after all. ‘I don’t know what to do,’ she says, elongating every vowel. ‘Oh, the shoes. Let’s go back before they close?’ I say. Back in M&S, she strides in front of me, questioning everything there is left to question before buying them just as the lights begin to dim and a voiceover tells us that the store will be closing in 10 minutes.
Outside, we wait for her bus. I ask if she’s got everything off her (‘I’m never getting measured’) chest. I go over everything we’ve talked about and tell her that she can always talk to me, not to worry and to keep me updated. I spot the 211 and I put my arm out and keep it out despite the bus indicating. Slish opens her arms to say goodbye. I hug her, saying: ‘It was lovely to see you.’ ‘Yeah, you too,’ she replies. I ask Slish to make sure she lets me know she gets home OK. She gets on the bus and goes up to the top deck. I wave to her as the bus suddenly lurches forward to catch up with the traffic ahead.
We continue texting for the next hour or so (with a brief phone call from Slish after the bus terminates earlier than expected at Fulham Broadway) until she’s safely back in Chiswick. Her final thoughts on the day read: ‘I hope to god that day will never come xxx’ (She is talking about eating toast out of a bowl. Again.)